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Become a Phlebotomist in Little Rock Arkansas

How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Little Rock AR

Little Rock AR phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Little Rock AR is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Little Rock AR phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Little Rock AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Little Rock AR laboratoryThere are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Little Rock AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Training

Little Rock Arkansas woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Little Rock AR medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

What to ask Little Rock AR phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Little Rock AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Little Rock AR job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Little Rock AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR health care community.

Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Little Rock AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Little Rock Arkansas

Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Little Rock AR.